Ernest Withers came onto the FBI's radar in 1948 as the agency investigated the American loyalty of one of the photographer's friends. The friend, whose identity is redacted in the report, was applying for a job with the postal service. Both Withers and the friend were members of the United Negro and Allied Veterans of America, labeled a Communist-influenced subversive group by the government. The probe was conducted, in part, by William H. Lawrence, who would later become Withers' FBI handler.
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